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Comic Book / Justice League: Cry for Justice

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Cry for Justice, in stores now!
(Assorted classic villains not included.)

Ray Palmer: Have you ever had a sinus headache? So torturous you thought your head would explode? What if I shrank to microscopic size, entered your skull, then began to grow. Imagine how that would feel.
Killer Moth: You're heroes, you don't act that way.
Ray Palmer: (points to the other Atom) He's a hero. I'm Ray Palmer. Welcome to pain.
— An exchange between a hero seeking "justice" and a villain.

Take a drink every time you see the word "justice".

Justice League: Cry for Justice (2009-2010) is a seven-issue limited series written by James Robinson with one purpose in mind: to make a team that actively seeks justice rather than merely responding to the need for it. However, this only creates a thin line between Justice and Revenge.

The story takes place after Final Crisis, where Green Lantern Hal Jordan begins to lose belief in what the team is fighting for, particularly justice. He and Green Arrow quit the Justice League and begin to hunt down villains and ensure that people like Libra would never take flight again.

Meanwhile, numerous superheroes mourning the deaths of their friends all begin to think the same and wish for the same thing: justice. They join one another and decide to, as a group, attempt to bring justice to the world. Little do they know that this is going according to the plan of one villain: Prometheus.

The series was originally planned to be an ongoing series and reinterpretation of the Justice League of America series and team, but DC executives eventually shortened it to seven issues, with the various characters and plot lines followed up in other series.

Provides examples of:

  • Actually a Doombot: Prometheus's galloping Villain Decay since Grant Morrison created him is explained as some other guy wearing the costume.
  • Advertised Extra: You see how that pic up there features Batwoman? Yeah, she's not in this series, really. She shows up every now and then, but never gets involved in the main plot.
  • Aesop Amnesia: MightyGodKing noted two pretty glaring examples.
    This is a comic where Green Lantern demands the heroes be more “proactive” and nobody bothers to point out that he already did that, and in the process temporarily destroyed the universe, except whoops it was a giant yellow space bug controlling him or something. This is a comic where the Atom tortures a bad guy by stomping on his brain and nobody points out that his wife killed one of his closest friends by accident doing the exact same thing.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Roy Harper loses an arm to Prometheus.
  • Arc Words: "Justice" appears numerous times in every issue, often spoken as a complete sentence to explain means, motives and goals.
  • Artistic License – Space: Green Lantern and Green Arrow fly through an asteroid thicket, despite the fact that they traveled from Earth orbit to the surface, where logically there should be no asteroids.
  • Back for the Dead: The book pulls a lot of characters who had not been seen or mentioned for years (sometimes decades) back for the sole purposes of killing them off. Maybe most egregiously, the Three Stooges Shout-Out, Winky, Blinky and Noddy, who had gotten exactly one mention since 1947, and were killed offscreen.
  • Bash Brothers: Ray Palmer and Ryan Choi fight very well as a team, and spend the entire fight sequence complementing each other.
  • Big Bad: Prometheus
  • Bury Your Gays: Mikaal Thomas' lover was killed, and that killing is what set him on the path for justice in the first place.
    • Likewise, D-list gay hero and former Global Guardians member Tasmanian Devil is killed and turned into a throw rug for Prometheus's manor, just to show off how badass he is. However, it turns out in a follow-up comic that the Devil's body was kept in stasis, he's tossed into a Lazarus Pit, and he comes back - with hints that he and Mikaal might get together.
  • C-List Fodder: Prometheus stated that (off panel, by the way) he killed several members of the Global Guardians.
    • Also "Blood Pack", a "new" team made up of old Dark-and-Bronze-age characters.
    • And Preston Payne, the third Clayface. Notable in that he serves as a Sacrificial Lamb for the B-list modern Clayface, as the character (last seen in a 1994 comic) is turned into an Expy of the more recent version as part of a trap, then unceremoniously killed off to prove the villain's vileness (just in case the last half-dozen killings hadn't gotten it across).
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: The heroes, primarily Ray Palmer (The Atom), torture several villains in order to gain information.
  • Collateral Angst: Numerous character, including several minor heroes, are killed to motivate and harm the primary characters. This includes, in the series final issues, Lian Harper, Roy Harper's daughter, who was killed during the destruction of Star City.
  • Concepts Are Cheap: The main characters begin seeking justice without defining what it means, how it is different from the ideals and actions of the Justice League, or how it is different from a different concept all together.
  • Continuity Nod: Miss Martian notes that one of the gods of Mars is L'Zoril. This is the Martian name for Dream of the Endless, as we discovered early in his series.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The story starts with various heroes all over the world shouting that they want justice at the exact same time, completely at random.
  • Covers Always Lie: See Lex Luthor, The Joker, Sinestro, Poison Ivy, and Grodd on the cover image up top? None of them show up. At all.
  • Darker and Edgier: The series was an attempt to make the Justice League proactive and, well, edgier. This has been done before (Justice League Detroit, Justice League Task Force, Extreme Justice), and has certainly been done better (Justice League Elite).
  • Death of a Child: Lian Harper dies in the destruction of Star City.
  • Deus ex Machina: In the end, Green Arrow enters Prometheus' personal pocket dimension and kills him with a single arrow to the head with absolutely no explanation how he can do that.
  • Downer Ending: Not only do the heroes not get what they want, but Prometheus succeeds in his plans and although he's killed by Green Arrow, that just leads to Green Arrow getting negative consequences. In short, all the pain and torture everyone committed in the name of justice was All for Nothing.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Deaths occur without buildup, meaning or any real plot relevance. And a quite a few of them happens off-panel to boot.
  • Failure Hero: Ollie and Hal's desire to "do more" ends with them doing nothing that makes a difference, with the irony being Red Arrow probably wouldn't have lost his arm if they hadn't unwittingly given Prometheus access to the Hall of Justice.
  • Gambit Roulette: Much of Prometheus's plan relied on heroes being in the exact right place, at the exact right time, for the exact right reasons.
  • Hollywood Law: Apparently, if you have a criminal record a costumed vigilante doesn't need to catch you committing a crime or have any evidence that you have done or were planning to do so to be well within his rights to beat you senseless and arrest you. Any sane judge would overturn virtually every "arrest" Hal and Ollie make in this series, if it got to court at all. However, what they don't make clear is whether or not these criminals are out legally or not. If they are out legally, then preemptively hunting them down is not justice because they haven't done anything wrong, at least as far as you can prove. If they are out illegally, then why aren't they being tracked down and put in jail, and why would the heroes complain about having to wait until they commit a crime, when they are already committing a crime just by being outside of jail?
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Once the heroes have captured Prometheus, they tie him up... and put his helmet, the source of all his powers, back on his head. And if Donna Troy destroying it wasn't an artist mistake, they repaired it first.
    • The page with Prometheus curb stomping the Justice League after cutting off Roy's arm has the team use next to no actual strategy, e.g Zatanna rushing into a fight head first.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Green Lantern points out that it is practically Gotham law that all conversations should be on the roofs of buildings.
  • Mood Whiplash: The art skips from the gruesome, ignoble deaths of beloved characters to cheap Fanservice in a matter of panels
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Captain Marvel's lightning usually just changes him from his civilian form to superhero, and can be used offensively against people with a vulnerability to magic, e.g. Supergirl, and then suddenly he can use it to make a shield, protecting people (including Supergirl) from an explosion. Justified since he's Prometheus and it's not the same magic.
    • A strange case of Supergirl getting a new weakness. Apparently, her being close to magic pretty much has the same effect as Kryptonite, if not worse. This is never brought up again.
      • Magic is a fairly standard established weakness for Kryptonians on Earth. Because of the general lack of Kryptonite around the planet, it's pretty much regarded as one of the few things that can give Superman real trouble, and is part of the classic Superman/Captain Marvel rivalry. However, this is usually portrayed as Kryptonians being as vunerable to magic as a human would be, not adversely affected by magical energy in and of itself. But that's how she figures out "Captain Marvel" isn't using real magic lightning.
  • Offscreen Heroism: After spending most of the issue chasing Prometheus's various gambits and running about in circles (after boasting they would be a proactive, preventive force for good), Ollie and Hal reflect on a number of crime lords and evil-doers they'd stopped and put away in prison. It's unclear when exactly they had time to do this given the flow of events, but we never see this adventures first-hand, only their mentions of them.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: The Atom had no problem performing an autopsy on Endless Winter, even though he's a physicist.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Green Arrow killing Prometheus. The latter's actions are the final example of the characters of the story confusing "justice" for "revenge".
  • Phantom Limb Pain: Roy Harper has his arm cut off by the villain Prometheus. Although he gets a cybernetic arm in Rise of Arsenal, he still suffers phantom pain. This combined with his daughter's death results in him relapsing into drug addiction.
  • Plot Hole: Donna Troy is clearly shown tearing Prometheus's helmet into several pieces, yet barely a page later it's fully repaired and back on his head. Either bad writing or the artist forgot what he drew.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Supergirl began to suspect that Captain Marvel was actually Prometheus after they survived the bombing, but refrained from mentioning her suspicions to any of the other characters for three issues.
  • Race Lift: Vixen and (the current) Firestorm, both black super-heroes, appear white in this story. Likely a coloring error and not a conscious editing choice.
  • Revenge: Much of the "justice" that the group asks for is simple, and personal, revenge. Their actions do not support or heal those who have been injured, do not rehabilitate or judge those responsible, and are not in accordance with established laws or customs. They are instead the simple act of hurting people that have hurt them.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Green Arrow and Green Lantern make a big deal about how heroes need to be doing more, and eventually split off from the Justice League to form their own group able to do things the main team can't, or won't, do. Their team accomplishes nothing in the end, and only served to give Prometheus the opening he needed into the Hall of Justice by having his villains overwhelm the splinter group before convincing them as "Shazam" that they needed help from the main Justice League. It's even pointed out how Hal and Ollie made such a big deal about doing their own thing, then came back to the Hall asking for help when their methods weren't working.
  • Shout-Out: Prometheus explains why he is telling the heroes his master plan and why they can't stop him (along with, presumably, illustrating what comic the writers tried to emulate):
    Prometheus: But for Star City that destruction began five minutes ago.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Sometimes Prometheus can curb stomp the entire JLA in a few panels, including Wonder Woman, later he's beaten to a pulp by Donna Troy, who has Wonder Woman's exact power set and power level, and later he can barely hold his own against Badass Normal Roy Harper.
  • Stupidity-Inducing Attack: Technically invoked with Prometheus; recognising that it would be impossible to contain him in conventional prisons, Batman and J'onn J'onzz arrange to trap Prometheus by reducing him to a mentally disabled state, which he only escapes after Final Crisis when J'onzz is killed.
  • Take That!: The run, likely by coincidence, has a few unseemly remarks on characters written by Gail Simone. One notable example being an implication that Hal Jordan had a drunken threesome with Huntress and Lady Blackhawk of the Birds of Prey. Gail later shot down the implication in issue #6 of the new Birds ongoing, with the revelation that Hal just got drunk and passed out.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Poor Red Arrow. First he gets his arm chopped off and then his daughter gets killed.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Congorilla uses this excuse to justify how he was healed from his injury.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Green Arrow and Hal Jordan's desire to stop waiting for villains to act and be more "proactive" only ends horribly for them and those involved with their crusade. All it does is grant Prometheus an opening to get to the Hall of Justice by impersonating Freddy Freeman and convincing the group they need to reconvene with the main Justice League in order to better figure out the villains' goals. Which then leads to Red Arrow losing an arm and his life spiraling down the drain from there as Prometheus makes fools of everyone.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: The theme of the series is its protagonists' refusal to accept this doctrine, as Hal Jordan and Green Arrow initially leave the League because they are tired of simply waiting around for a villain to commit a crime and then cleaning up the aftermath. At no point do they propose a course of action that might somehow prevent crime from being committed in the first place.
  • Villain Decay: Deconstructed. Prometheus, a supposed Justice League-level villain that originally challenged the entire League, has been easily defeated in almost all subsequent appearances and despite retaining the same power and skills. This series explains that all those appearances were an impostor posing as Prometheus and follows the original's efforts to regain his reputation and exact revenge. This Retcon happened in a one shot before this mini came out.


(32 Drinks)